The President’s health care proposal is out this morning and it’s déjà vu all over again. The President has released a list of bullet points that puts into fancier typeface the worst Democrat proposals that have already been soundly rejected by the American people.
The “new” version contains the federal government mandates on individuals to buy insurance as well as employers to provide insurance. It includes the exchange wherein the federal government controls every single aspect of all health insurance policy content. (We’ll be doing a more extended analysis of the proposal later today.)
And it tells insurance companies what they can sell, to whom and at what price. Which means that no private insurance company will stay in the business for longer than it takes to cancel the policies that are already out there.
Obama’s proposal will ensure there is no healthcare insurance provider except the federal government.
Some Republican Congressional leaders are set to cheerfully participate in the health care political theater staged at the White House, providing President Obama with his much-desired perception of “bi-partisan” outreach. All the while, Democrats continue their secretive deal-making behind closed doors, desirous of garnering enough the votes to push the stalled Senate-passed bill through the House.
House Democrats have not been able to muster enough votes from their large majority to pass the Senate’s Christmas Eve bill. If the House were to make changes to the Senate-passed bill, it would have to be sent back to the Senate for passage. So, instead of moving the House and Senate bills into conference to seek a compromise called for under normal legislative procedure, Democrat leaders are doing what they do best, working in the shadows, in secret meetings, to pass their highly-unpopular government takeover of America’s health care system.
What you’ll see televised at the White House is merely Kabuki Theater.
“I’ve had many conversations this week with the president, his chief of staff, and Speaker Pelosi,” Reid said on Friday on a local Nevada television program. “And we’re really trying to move forward on this.”
Reid said he expects to push a bill through the Senate within the next two months using what one top Pelosi aide calls a procedural trick.
Part of the Budget Act of 1974, budget reconciliation was created to set time limits on debate as a means to move deficit reduction measures more speedily through the Senate. Designed by our Founders to be the slower, more deliberative body of Congress, the Senate enjoys unlimited debate that requires 60 votes to bring to a close, “invoking cloture.” Budget reconciliation restricts debate to 20 hours with no cloture vote required in this special process that is limited to targeted deficit reduction legislation. A reconciliation bill automatically moves to a vote on final passage which requires only a simple, 51-vote majority.
Reid is working on a way to violate Senate rules and pass this sweeping policy legislation through using budget reconciliation not as a deficit reduction measure but as a trick to violate Senate rules. He’s already out there trying to sell reconciliation as a procedure that can be used for legislation other than measures targeting deficit reduction.
“Reconciliation can be used for different purposes,” Reid said. “We can write a whole new bill, okay, or we can use reconciliation to pass the bill that we’ve already passed.”
Should Democrats get enough members of their House caucus to sign off, they are expected to work up the Senate bill “fix” pass it off as the President’s new “compromise” and send it to the Senate for passage with 50 votes as an amendment to a budget bill.
Vice President Joe Biden will likely be on hand to do more than just break a 50-50 tie in the vote. Republicans will raise differing points of order asking for a Senate parliamentarian ruling on whether elements of the measure are germane to budget reconciliation. The parliamentarian’s ruling is not binding on Senators. In his capacity as President of the Senate, Biden can disregard the plain words and meaning of Senate rules to rule however he pleases from the chair while presiding over the Senate.
Never before has the arcane budget reconciliation process been used to pass sweeping policy legislation — much less a takeover of America’s health care system — a full one-sixth of the nation’s private economy. President Ronald Reagan used reconciliation measures with bi-partisan support to rein in spending. Reagan and Bill Clinton used it to pass deficit reduction measures. George W. Bush used the process to pass temporary tax cuts to increase revenue streams aimed at reducing the deficit.
According to the official cost estimate from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the Democrats’ Senate-passed health care bill would add an additional $2.5 trillion to the deficit when fully implemented. And that’s a conservative estimate.
McConnell Confirms Participation in Rope-a-Dope Health Care Summit
Despite Democrats’ refusal to take this highly-unpopular bill off the table and start new, honest, bi-partisan discussions from a blank sheet of paper, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared on Fox News Sunday yesterday and confirmed his participation in President Obama’s rope-a-dope “health care” summit slated for Thursday.
“Yeah, in all likelihood, I’ll be there,” McConnell said. “We’re discussing the makeup of the room, but yes, I intend to be there. My members will be there and ready to participate.”
When asked about reports that the White House and Congressional Democrats are working to construct a partisan measure that includes the so-called “public option” using budget reconciliation to put it through the Senate with just 51 votes?
“You know, we’ve witnessed the ‘Cornhusker kickback,’ the ‘Louisiana purchase,’ ‘the Gatorade,’ the special deal for Florida,” McConnell said. “Now they are suggesting they might use a device which has never been used for this kind of major systemic reform. We know the only thing bipartisan about it would be the opposition to it. A number of Democrats have said don’t do it, this is not the way to go.”
“I think they’re having a hard time getting the message here,” McConnell continued. “The American people do not want this bill to pass. And it strikes me as rather arrogant to say, ‘Well, we’re going to give it to you anyway, and we’ll use whatever device is available to achieve that end.”
“There’ll be a lot of Democrats that’ll vote against it,” McConnell said. “Whether there’ll be 11 Democrats that’ll vote against it is not clear. But the American people who are already quite angry about the effort to jam this down their throats are going to be even angrier.”
The budget reconciliation process cuts off debate after 20 hours but an unlimited number of amendments can be offered.
“There are a variety of different options available, but the fundamental point I want to make is the arrogance of all of this,” McConnell said. “They are saying ‘ignore the wishes of the American people, we know more about the issue than you do, and we’re going to jam it down your throats no matter what.’ That is why the public is so angry at this Congress and this administration over this issue.”
According to the interview, McConnell believes he’s going to a health care summit in “good faith.” Democrats are going to a rope-a-dope charade staged to offer “bi-partisan” political cover for budget reconciliation while pushing through cradle to grave control over the American people.
It’s like Jed Babbin wrote a week ago: the Republicans think they’re on the guest list, but they’re really on the menu.
This isn’t about health care; it’s about government control over every aspect of our lives. Is it too much to ask that our elected leaders to stop pretending this is about health care?